Well, ladies and gentlemen—mostly ladies, if the live studio audience is any indication—here we are. The final rose bestowed. Emily the Bachelorette hath departed forever from our television screens. The live studio audience sitteth among many pillar candles and watcheth the finale with us.
Now that we’re done, and now that we sat through the “After the Final Rose” special too, all of the questions of this season have been answered. (For example: Question, where is our normal recapper Melissa Locker? Answer, she is away.) It’s like the meaning of life has been made clear, basically, because there’s absolutely nothing we’re left wondering about anything—if by “anything,” you mean Season 8 of The Bachelorette. Because The Bachelorette is everything…at least until Bachelor Pad starts.
In case you missed it, here’s a cheat sheet:
What is host Chris Harrison trying to get the studio audience to think? He’s hinting at a neither-nor, with clips of an indecisive Emily emphasizing the need to do what’s best for her daughter Ricki.
There’s a bridge near Emily’s place in Curacao. Where does it go? It goes nowhere.
Then why is it there? For standing on and wondering whom should she marry, which is impossible to figure out without just such a footbridge.
Emily’s family comes to meet the finalists, Jef and Arie. Whom do they like more? They like Jef and Arie equally. Jef had the advantage coming first and bringing flowers for the ladies of the Maynard clan, but Arie’s sentimental gift of a souvenir box containing rose-ceremony remnants (DIY potpourri!) evened out the score.
Whom does Emily’s brother look like? The child of Seth Rogen and John Wayne. You’re welcome.
When is the best time to fish in Curacao? When it’s cloudy, according to Arie, who is a nervous talker and won’t shut up around Emily’s family—or in front of the cameras, confidently announcing that “next time I see Emily’s family I’m going to be engaged” right after he leaves the meet-up.
Didn’t anyone ever tell Jef not to draw in books? No. At the end of their final date, during which Jef forgets that the cameras are around (“This whole beach, just us…”) and Emily makes the fateful decision to let him meet little Ricki—with whom he gets along swimmingly, literally, in the pool—Jef gives Emily a book to remember their time in Curacao. It’s a photo book. He’s drawn stick figures of the two of them on the photographs. Oh.
What did Emily wear on her final date with Jef? An acid-yellow, ankle-length loincloth.
Who else has answers? Chris Harrison does, and he knows it. After he tells the studio audience that Emily got some help with her questions, who should show up at Emily’s door but…Chris Harrison. The two of them have a heart-to-heart and Emily says the fateful words: “Jef is everything I’m looking for.” Sounds like she‘s the one with the answers, Chris.
What’s the best way to cry on national television? The classic corner-of-the-eye mascara pat, and Emily’s a pro.
How else can you make your own potpourri? Go on Arie and Emily’s final date, before which Arie gets a lesson in making a love potion. A love potion looks like potpourri that got left out in the rain.
What’s the best way to be broken up with? On their final date, Emily mercifully cuts Arie—to whom she speaks exactly the same way she does to Ricki, telling him that his love potion smells really good and that he did a good job—off at the pass. Accompanied by the requisite sad piano, a surprised Arie gracefully pulls off the manly shrug, the look away, the chin touch and the eye close. Later, driving away, he looks like he’s trying to cry, but here his shock looks real.
Just how gaudy is Emily’s engagement ring? From among six huge, ugly rings, Jef selects one heck of a gaudy ring. Sadly, his post-selection beach walk does not come with a white horse.
So did she say yes? The Bachelorette‘s traditionalism leaves us with the awkward double-decision situation, where Emily has narrowed it down to one guy for the final rose ceremony but still has to wait for a proposal and finally make up her mind. She hasn’t given much away as to her state of mind; she’s (rightfully) concerned about how it will look to get engaged three times and never marry, so she may walk away with a commitment just shy of a betrothal. But who could resist such a sharp-looking suit and such tall hair? She tells Jef she loves him right off the bat. And, after a speech that could easily be a country song if given a little guitar intro, Jef pops the question. She says yes! There’s a nice clear shot of the jeweler’s logo inside the ring box! She gives him the final rose! Ricki comes out and the family walks off holding hands! A montage of their time together is set to the tune of “The Glory of Love”!
What happened next? For one thing, Arie secretly flew to Charlotte, N.C., and left his journal for Emily to read. She decided to respect his privacy and present it to him at the televised reunion, unread. Arie disappears into the TV sunset, for now. And Emily and Jef are very much still together. Chris Harrison thinks they are “probably the only two people in America” who haven’t seen their proposal scene—which is factually incorrect if only because a) I know some other ones, and b) time zones—so they finally get to watch it. They are planning a humanitarian trip to Africa, Jef’s move to Charlotte and a Charleston wedding, possibly for the spring.
What does happy ever after look like? This, people. It looks like this.